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"Pronunciation, like the language itself, is an organic entity that responds to changing environments. It evolves.
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Sheila is absolutely correct. I have a friend whose last name is Taliaferro. He pronounces it Tolliver or Tollifer. His brother's wife pronounces it Tall - ee - a - ferro. I asked him once which was correct. He said it depended on the circumstances. He said that it probably got changed to the Tollifer pronunciation in England around the time of Cromwell, when romance sounding names weren't too popular, particularly if the named indviduals were Catholic. In Virginia, from whence his family came, he says it's usually pronounced Tallifer. On the other hand, when his Virginia born and raised lawyer grandfather moved from Green River, Wyoming to Rock Springs, Wyoming around 1900, it got changed to the sister in law pronunciation, and his grandfather didn't correct anyone, since he wanted the Italian clients (Rock Springs was and is a community of diverse ethnic origins). When you call the Taliaferro County courthouse in Taliaferro County, Georgia, the receptionist answers the phone "Tallifer County" with a very distinctive Southern accent.

And so it goes; "you say tomato and I say tomaato."

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